Charity CHAMPs – get involved with microphilanthropy now!

Operation Imani – How to Optimize International Development Dollars by sylvng

Charity CHAMPS is about bringing out the inner hero in everybody, a philosophy which I’ve become very passionate about over the years.  I’ve always been more inspired by “average” people that do great things, than exceptional people that do extraordinary things.

This week a friend of mine introduced me to a definite hero — Greg John. Greg is an engineer by training, but instead of taking up a comfy job, he obtained a CIDA internship after graduation and proceeded to help build an HIV center in Tanzania. While there, he started connecting with other non-profits and became involved with a local organization called Imani. Imani runs a vocational school, teaching trade crafts such as tailoring and carpentry to youth (a good portion of whom are disabled). In an environment where spaces in highschool are short, the vocational school goes a long way to providing kids with an education.

In time, Greg realized that operating the centre was a constant challenge – there just aren’t enough resources. So using a bit of ingenuity, Greg began to teach sustainability, rolling up his sleeves to help build fishponds to generate a steady food source, and setting up drip irrigation in the gardens. Realizing that there is a lack of investment in long-term, sustainable solutions in Africa, Greg wrote a book, titled Mzungu Days, about his experiences in Tanzania. After spending 2 years there, Greg returned to Canada to fundraise, and last summer went back again, this time with a different mission — to produce a documentary film that would not only educate Canadians and NGOs on how to maximize the long-term impact of development dollars, but also hopefully raise $100k for Imani as well.

The resulting film, Operation Imani, has been dubbed “an important resource for all who want to make a lasting difference” by former Canadian High Commissioner to Tanzania Dr. Andrew McAlister. There will be screenings across Canada this summer. You can also purchase a DVD, and 100% of the proceeds of ticket and DVD sales will go toward Imani. Let me know if you’re in Toronto and are planning to go — I will definitely be there!

With cause blogging and the proliferation of social media, I find myself facing a plethora of stories about ordinary people who are doing phenomenal deeds.  They’re all tales that make me feel badly for not doing more, but yet I love reading them because they’re so inspirational. Greg, for one, has been operating with money out of his own pocket, and has made this film with the support of his friends. Hopefully this story brings a bit of inspiration to you — it has to me.

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